Originally Posted by vintageair
Thank you for all the information.
So, given that aluminium plaques disappeared around 1958
and their distinction of indicating a trailer had been on a caravan also changed around this time into more of a general club logo, would it be reasonable to assume that this/any trailer with an aluminium plaque was on an actual Wally Byam caravan?
Unfortunately NO it is not a good assumption that your '56 Sovereign
with the plaque was on a Wally Byam Caravan, although it may have been on one between 1961
. As I stated earlier, according to the WBCCI Directories I have, the original assignees of #1234, Barney and Della Hempel of Belleville, NE were not on any caravans from 1957
(when the number was first assigned) through 1960
and the later assignees of #1234, Alfred and Dorris Jorgensen of Omaha NE, were never on a Wally Byam Caravan.
The only possibility it was on a Wally Byam Caravan was if the Hempels (or another interim owner) took it on a caravan between 1961
before the trailer was sold to the Jorgensens. While not impossible, this seems unlikely. The typical WBCCI member back then participated on a caravan shortly after joining the club, not years after joining. We also don't have proof that the Hempels actually owned your Airstream, nor do we know when they sold it if they did own it. Assuming the Hempels DID own your Airstream, they could have sold it anywhere between mid 1961
(after the 1960
Directory was published) to mid 1965
(before the 1966
Directory was published). It is also possible that the Hempels sold the trailer after 1960
to an interim couple that took it on a caravan before selling it to the Jorgensens prior to 1966
. This seems unlikely, but not impossible. If anyone has 1962
through 1965 WBCCI Directories, we can clear up this mystery (there was no 1961 Directory). If not, we can only speculate.
Another reason it is unlikely that your '56 Sovereign
went on a caravan is that 30-footers were the longest and heaviest Airstreams made at that time and therefore less likely than shorter models to be taken on a caravan on rough roads in Mexico or Canada when pulled by the typical car of the day. Again, this is not proof, just a supposition. Some 30-footers did go on caravans.
So to conclude, it is possible that your '56 Sovereign
was on a caravan, but in my opinion it is unlikely. Unless you find a decal or hidden paperwork from a 1961 to 1965 caravan on or inside the trailer, or unless someone can check the 1962
through 1965 Directories (which I don't have), you probably will never know for sure.